The European Union (EU), China and other World Trade Organization (WTO) members on Wednesday (December 12) delivered a joint statement, emphasizing the urgent need to unblock the appointment of WTO Appellate Body members.

Photo taken on April 4, 2018 shows the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo: Xinhua)


In a meeting of the WTO General Council, those members demonstrated their deep concern that "continued vacancies in the Appellate Body present a risk to the WTO as a whole."

While reaffirming their commitment to the rules-based multilateral trading system, they underscored the dispute settlement system as a central pillar of the WTO.

"Such a system is also essential in building confidence amongst members in the negotiating pillar," said the statement.

The Appellate Body functions as the WTO's de facto court of appeals and is composed of seven members. However, only four of the seven members are in office since Washington has refused to initiate the process to fill vacancies.

In November, a dozen of WTO members, including China and the EU, have submitted two joint proposals on the reform of the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism.

The first proposal gives proper solutions to transitional rules of outgoing Appellate Body members, and the second strengthens the independence of the Appellate Body, increases its efficiency and capability and proposes to automatically launch its selection process.

In Wednesday's statement, the members took note of the concerns about the functioning of the dispute settlement system, saying that they are "ready to work on solutions, while preserving the essential features of the system and of its Appellate Body."

Underlining their commitment to engaging in discussions on "substantive rules" of the Appellate Body, they called on interested members to advance ideas on how to take this process forward.


                Source: NDO

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